As a lifelong anxiety sufferer I know it can be annoying when you’re drowning in worry thoughts and someone who has no idea what anxiety is actually like tells you to just get some sunshine or exercise and “get over it.” If it was that simple, do you think anyone would still have anxiety?
That said, we can ease the severity of our symptoms by picking up habits that promote good mental hygiene. There are relaxing practices we can incorporate into our every day lives that help us feel more centered and less at the mercy of our runaway thoughts. Here are the best ones I’ve found, try them out and see if they are helpful for you.
1. Prioritize sleep. For a long time I prided myself on not “needing” as much sleep as other people, but when I started working evenings and could sleep as long as I wanted to in the morning, I discovered how much more relaxed I felt every day when I was consistently getting enough sleep. I have to get up in the mornings again, but my day is a lot easier when I don’t interfere with my sleep budget.
2. If falling asleep is difficult, this recipe almost always helps me feel relaxed, worry-free, and ready to sleep: a clean bedroom, freshly washed sheets, and a few drops of lavender oil on my pillow. You will wake up feeling like you were on vacation at a spa, at least until you actually open your eyes.
3. If falling asleep is really difficult, add a sleep meditation podcast. You just turn it on and listen to someone guide you into slumber. I really love anything from Meditation Oasis.
4. Every time you wash your hands, take three deep breaths in and out. After you do this for awhile, it will be automatic and you will have little built-in relaxation breaks throughout the day, cued every time you go to the bathroom or prepare for a meal by washing up.
5. Take a hot shower. This makes a lot of worries go away, and it at least gives you a break from the big ones.